BY LARA GOVENDO
"How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up in the morning, you are still with me!"
"Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
As I type this, I’m questioning if I do actually believe that loneliness is a gift. How can something be a gift when it’s so… painful? Some of the most painful moments in my life have been when I was the loneliest. But there’s something magical that happens when we surrender EVERYTHING to God. Even the minuscule details of our lives, like our loneliness.
I’ve felt just about every loneliness there is to feel. Lonely in my illness. Lonely during the darkest seasons of depression. Lonely in romantic relationships, in friendships and family too. Lonely in not living a typical life. Lonely in being single and living alone. Lonely during the deepest heartaches and grieving seasons. Lonely in being misunderstood and left out. Lonely in the quiet battles I face that nobody knows about.
There is loneliness lurking around every corner we turn on the journey of our lives. Even though we’re in community, have wonderful family and friends, there are still lonely moments to be had. No human will ever truly understand the depths of our hearts. And that can feel pretty lonely when we’re going through trials and tribulations.
What matters, though, is what we do with our loneliness. We can choose to turn to distractions, addictions, busyness, the internet (social media, youtube, etc) – filling every waking moment with something. But none of these things take away the ache of loneliness.
BUT God does. Every time.
That still small voice spoke to me this week when I was feeling this and said: your lonely times are when you seek Me.
Ok God. I hear you – I whisper.
And He was right. When I’m lonely in whatever circumstance it is, I get alone with God and take my loneliness to Him. He’s the only One that can fill that space of loneliness with complete wholeness. I can’t find the answer in other people, books, music, tv… because God IS the answer. He’s always with us, and never forsakes us (paraphrased from Deuteronomy 31:6).
And loneliness IS a gift because I’m reminded to seek Him.
When I bring my loneliness to Him, He reveals the root of it. In this sacred space with God, I’m able to heal on a soul level from whatever is bringing this feeling of loneliness. When we fully surrender our loneliness over to God, He truly does give us the peace that surpasses all understanding.
The pandemic has brought its own level of loneliness to everyone’s life in some capacity. I’m not negating the magnitude of this heaviness. But I can encourage you that when God calls us into loneliness, we are given the space and opportunity to become all that God created us to be apart from human influence and everything that’s distracting us.
It’s hard to drown out the noise of the world and get alone with God. But when we do, there is beautiful re-creation within us. After all, we are new creations in Christ, called to die to ourselves (give Him our loneliness) on the daily and follow Him.
Thank you, God, for the gift of loneliness.